What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected given their overall intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. Dyslexia can be inherited, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia.
Is there any treatment?
The main focus of treatment should be on the specific learning problems of affected individuals. The usual course is to modify teaching methods and the educational environment to meet the specific needs of the individual with dyslexia.
What is the prognosis?
For those with dyslexia, the prognosis is mixed. The disability affects such a wide range of people and produces such different symptoms and varying degrees of severity that predictions are hard to make. The prognosis is generally good, however, for individuals whose dyslexia is identified early, who have supportive family and friends and a strong self-image, and who are involved in a proper remediation program.
What research is being done?
Two institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support major research on dyslexia (and other institutes may on occasion also support studies on learning disabilities or neurological conditions including dyslexia). The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) support ongoing dyslexia research through grants to major research institutions across the country. Current research avenues focus on developing techniques to diagnose and treat dyslexia and other learning disabilities, increasing the understanding of the biological and possible genetic bases of learning disabilities, and exploring the relationship between neurophysiological processes and cognitive functions with regard to reading ability and learning.
This information is provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Health.